Maryam Mohseni '24
Starting a new school year is stressful for everyone and starting high school is even more stressful. Coming into freshman year was a daunting experience for me, especially since I was new to NCS. I didn’t know what to expect and all everyone had told me was how hard high school was going to be. Luckily NCS has plenty of resources for incoming freshmen to help ease their transition into the upper school and provide both academic and social support. Below is a list of programs in the NCS community you can turn to for support.
I. Peer Tutor Program
We all know that NCS is an academically rigorous institution and naturally it gets harder as you progress. In the shift from the Middle School to the Upper School the workload becomes considerably more and the content you learn in class becomes heavier. This shift was especially hard for me, coming from a school that wasn’t nearly as rigorous as NCS. Enter the peer tutor program. Say, you’re taking physics and it’s not going very well. The peer tutor program will match you up with an upperclassmen who’s already taken and excelled in physics and the upperclassmen becomes your tutor for physics. Having a peer tutor is unique in that they have gone through exactly what you are going through, making them ideal for helping you succeed in your class. You can apply for a peer tutor for as many classes as you need and in many cases you may have the same tutor for multiple classes. It’s a great way to get the academic support you need as you get acclimated to the Upper School.
II. Peer Mentor Program
For both new and returning students, entering the Upper School is a whole new social world to navigate. It can be challenging to manage a new social environment with the added academic workload, and the peer mentor program is here to help with just that. Unlike the peer tutor program the peer mentor program doesn't help with academics. Instead mentors assist their mentees with their general transition to the Upper School. This can include helping their mentees develop a schedule that helps them balance their many responsibilities and being someone for their mentees to talk to or just showing them the ropes of the Upper School. Generally mentees and mentors meet at least once a cycle and if needed they can meet more than that.
III. DEI Office and Affinity Groups
POC (people of color) at a PWI (predominantly white institution) face unique challenges that their peers may not and the DEI office is a great place to go for support and assistance. The DEI office includes Rev. Adams as our new head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Ethical Leadership and three DEI and Belonging deans for each division. The DEI dean for the Upper School is Sra. Riquelme who is also a Spanish teacher in the Upper School. Affinity groups are another resource for POC and can provide a safe place for people who identify with similar backgrounds. Affinity groups are student led with a faculty sponsor and generally meet once a cycle.
Note: This article is just to provide a starting point for new students. As you become acclimated to the Upper School you will find the people and spaces that can support you best and make you feel space and comfortable. The aforementioned programs and people are merely suggestions and they may not work for you, but they are a good place to start when looking for support during your transition.